Polaris has always been known for its innovations, and it has done it yet again with the 2004 Polaris Sportsman 700. Two years after its initial launch, the Sportsman 700 came with a new and revolutionary EFI system – the world’s first – which improved fuel consumption and better altitude acclimation. Not only did the 2004 model succeed in overshadowing the flaws of its 2002 sibling, but the tried-and-true EFI technology has put Polaris a considerable number of paces ahead of its competition.
The 2004 Polaris Sportsman 700 was the world’s first ATV equipped with an Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) system, which provided altitude compensation and better fuel economy. The quad featured dual driveline modes, composite utility racks, and a keyed ignition.
Not only was the 2004 model downright remarkable, but it also raised the bar of both consumer expectation and quality of vehicle production. Learn all about its specs, hiccups, and praiseworthy features as this article points out what makes this vehicle differ from all the other units released during the Polaris Sportsman 700’s production run.
The 4×4 to Reckon With
Following Kawasaki’s Prairie 650, the Polaris Sportsman 700 took the lead in 2002 with its 683-cc V-twin power mill. It was the machine to contend with during its launch, having the largest engine displacement in the recreational ATV scene.
Remarkably, it is its compact configuration, which was close to negligible compared to a single-cylinder unit. This 2002 ATV of the Year awardee was a high-performance quad, with lots of power and torque from parts that required simplified maintenance.
The 2004 Polaris Sportsman 700 was special, as it was the four-wheeler that introduced Electronic Fuel Injection to the market. The quad came in two versions within the same production year – the standard 4×4 and the EFI-equipped trim, otherwise known as the 2004.5 model. Most of Polaris’ ATV offerings followed suit and included EFI from 2005 onwards.
Due to its PVT or Polaris Variable Transmission, this hunter-themed four-wheeler was only available in automatic that came with All-Wheel-Drive. This AWD feature’s beauty is that power is directed to the front wheels only when rear-wheel slippage is detected, making for lighter steering effort when 4WD is unnecessary (usually the case when trail riding).
The standard 4×4 is $7,499, and the EFI-equipped version is $7,899. Although pricy, the cost of this four-wheeler is an excellent trade for what you get in return – maximum power, superb handling, and a plush and comfortable ride. This expertly engineered vehicle is one Sportsman you would not want to miss.
2004 Polaris Sportsman 700 Specs & Features
- Engine – It has a four-stroke, liquid-cooled 2004 Polaris Sportsman 700 twin-cylinder engine. It has a bore-stroke ratio of 80 mm x 68 mm. The engine displacement is 683 cubic centimeters (41.68 cubic inches) delivered by a 34-mm Mikuni BST carburetor, and its compression ratio is 9.78:1. It has a pressurized wet sump type lubrication system. Fuel tank capacity is 4.25 US gallons/16 liters of regular gasoline with a minimum Octane rating of 87/89 (oxygenated). The 2004.5 model had a Bosch Electronic Fuel Injection system with multi-port semi-sequential injection, which is proven more efficient than throttle body injection designs. This EFI system comes with several benefits, such as smooth, responsive power, enhanced starting in all environmental conditions, automatic adjustment to altitude and temperature changes, and gas mileage improvement by at least 15%.
- Drivetrain – A Polaris Variable Transmission (H/L/N/Rev/Park) with EBS controls the 2004 Polaris Sportsman 700. It has a rear driveshaft with a Hilliard-type clutch assembly for less steering effort, and the gearshift is left-foot-operated. Standard air-intake attaches to a plastic water snorkel, which may need a snorkel riser kit to prevent water ingestion when crossing the shallow water. Both standard and EFI trims of the Sportsman 700 offered On-Demand AWD.
- Ignition – The 700 has a DC-CDI (Capacitor Discharge Ignition) electric starter system with electronic advance and an auxiliary recoil backup starter. Its charging system is a triple-phase alternator with a rated output of 330 w @ 3000 RPM and powered by a 12V, 30 Amp battery with assembled dimensions of 6.6 x 5.1 x 6.9 inches (L x W x H).
- Lubrication – Oil capacity is 2 US quarts/1.9 liters. To achieve top performance, use an SAE 0W-40 Polaris Premium 4 All Season Synthetic (without molybdenum additives) four-stroke engine oil or equivalent motor oil. Make sure that it meets manufacturer specs and MA JASO T 903 standard.
- Tires – The front steel wheels are equipped with Carlisle Badlands 25 X 8-12 / 205/80 R12 tires, while the rear steel wheels with Carlisle Badlands 25 X 11-12 / 270/60 R12 tires. The vehicle wheelbase is 50.75 inches.
- Brakes – The disc brake system consists of the brake lever, master cylinder, hydraulic hose, slave-cylinder brake calipers, 4.6-mm brake pads, and front and rear brakes use dual-sealed hydraulic disc brakes.
- Suspension – Enclosed in a twin-chassis frame is a MacPherson Strut A-arm front suspension with 6.7 inches of travel and a progressive rate-independent rear suspension with 9.5 inches (241.3 mm) of travel. This suspension design lends to an overall turning radius of 6.3 feet, making for more straightforward handling, especially when maneuvering under challenging conditions.
- Dimensions – The overall vehicle dimensions are 81 x 46 x 47 inches (L x W x H) with a ground clearance of 11.25 inches. The seat height is 34 inches. Dry weight is 720 lbs (326.6 Kg); GVWR can go up to 1,240 lbs – a combination of 740-lb curb weight, a maximum combined rack capacity of 300 lbs (136.08 Kg), plus passengers. Towing and hitch tongue capacities are 1500 lbs/454 kg and 150 lbs/68 kg.
- Exterior – It consists of a steel frame and plastic body material in blue, metallic black, metallic silver, and camo standard with hand grips, front and rear fenders, handlebars, and full floorboards. Composite front and rear cargo racks are durable, have many tie-down points, and accommodate plenty of gear.
- Lighting – Two 27-watt grille headlights mounted on the front fenders and a 50-watt pod headlight use multi-reflector lenses for excellent light distribution. The quad also has a 26.9-watt taillight and an 8.26-watt brake light.
Polaris Sportsman 700 Cost
The standard 4×4 trim is $7,499. The Mossy Oak Camouflage finish costs $300 more. The EFI version is the most expensive of the lot at $7,899. These prices did not increase much from the 2002 price list and are only $200 less than the price list of 2007 models. The average retail price for these quads ranges between $2.290 and $2,340.
Pre-loved 2004 Polaris Sportsman 700s cost between $1,200 and $3,385. Most of what you will find in auction listings and trader sites are 2002 to 2004 models. These units usually have accessories such as gun racks and an electric Warn winch to boot. Make sure to check on battery condition when canvasing anything below $1,500. Furthermore, it is precautionary to stay away from 2002 versions, as they have several problems.
Sportsman 700 Known Issues
Here are the most common 2004 Polaris Sportsman 700 problems owners and mechanics have reported:
A typical Sportsman issue is that the carburetor intake tends to crack. Owners have found out this is due to vibrations and how the carburetor mounts to the frame. Not a recognized rampant problem with ’04 models but may be an issue with riders who do a lot of rock crawling and riding on coarse or rough terrain.
Finicky Charging System
If you own a 2004 Polaris Sportsman 700, you should never run it without a battery or with a battery that is dead, shorted out, or disconnected. If you do, you will burn out the vehicle’s electrical components, starting with the light bulbs to the voltage regulator, the rev limiter, and up to the speedo and 4WD system.
The lesser evil that will happen is that you will likely get starting problems where your four-wheeler does not turn over. The most you can push the machine to do is to run with a weak battery. Keep those electrical surges at bay with a Lithium Motorcycle Battery with Smart Battery Management System (BMS) (view on Amazon).
Many symptoms point to this problem, such as difficulties with starting the quad, backfiring, popping sound through the intake or exhaust, acceleration hesitation, and erratic idle speed, to name a few. It is expected since fuel problems are one of the most common issues the Polaris Sportsman 700 has.
To fix, ensure that your fuel tank is not empty, and there are no restrictions (in the tank vent, fuel valve, carburetor vent, and impulse line). Also, make sure inlet passages and fuel filters are not plugged, there is no air leak, the fuel pump is operational, and all screws and needles are adjusted according to spec.
A poorly maintained cooling system causes this problem. Should you encounter this dilemma, inspect the reserve tank’s coolant levels are according to spec (3.2 quarts / 3 liters). Refill with a mixture of 50/50 or 60/40 mix of antifreeze and distilled water as needed to protect the quad against corrosion.
Make sure not to add straight antifreeze or straight water, which may further aggravate the cooling system. If the reserve tank is empty, make sure to also refill the coolant levels within the reservoir in the radiator.
Weak or Intermittent Spark
Both spark plugs located in each of the quad’s twin cylinders require regular adjustments to prevent any of these symptoms. Inspect any damage and that there is no faulty spark plug cap, stator, ETC switch, or wire harness. Also, make sure crankshaft bearings are not corroded or worn, and the flywheel is not loose or damaged. If the spark plugs are defective, immediately replace them with new RC7YC plugs. The spark plug gap for each should be precisely 0.035 inches.
Generally, the 2004 Polaris Sportsman 700 is miles better than the initial 2002 release. With its older sibling, owners complained of poor fuel economy, gas getting into the oil, design, and internal coolant leaks. Fast-forward two years, several improvements were made to the 2004 Sportsman 700 to make it close to being faultless.
Some minor issues have been addressed through TSBs released mostly from 2003 to 2005 models. While no all-terrain vehicle was made perfect, most of the problems identified for the Sportsman 700 are self-inflicted or due to non-adherence to scheduled changes and proper vehicle maintenance.
Overall, the Sportsman 700 does not have a significant pattern of widespread problems. However, some 2004 Polaris Sportsman 700 parts are prone to wear and tear or may require close inspection to determine if there is a need to re-adjust or replace. Among these parts are as follows:
- Rear lower control arm bolts
- Weak front springs and nuts
- Speedometer and other gauge units
- Brittle CV boots
- Mismatched or misaligned body panels
- AWD system disengagement
- Rear storage box leaks
- Incorrect belt deflection and clutch alignment
- What is the top speed of a 2004 Polaris Sportsman 700? The top speed of a 2004 Polaris Sportsman 700 (standard 4×4) is 72 mph in stock form. The EFI trim is rumored to top out at 75 mph. Unfortunately, there is no formal review about the Sportsman 700 that confirms if this 75-mph top speed is the advertised maximum speed or if it is variable. Take note that this speed is on a straightaway. According to Sportsman owners, even hitting 50 mph can be a stretch once you go trail riding.
- How much horsepower does a Polaris Sportsman 700 have? The 2004 Polaris Sportsman 700 (standard 4×4) has a maximum horsepower of 45 hp (33.56 kW at 5,800 RPM). The EFI trim is said to have slightly higher horsepower. This figure may still increase by at least 3 hp after modifications.
- Does the 2004 Polaris Sportsman 700 have a differential lock? Unfortunately, no. Unlike more recent models with a three-position AWD switch, the 2004 base model only had AWD and 2WD driveline modes, and a hilliard-type clutch assembly was in place of the turf mode current Polaris ATVs enjoy.
- Is Polaris Sportsman 700 reliable? Some off-roaders find the Sportsman 700 overkill, disliking its weight, lack of power, and fuel consumption. While those points are valid, they do not take away from the Sportsman’s reliability. Polaris ATVs, like the 2004 Polaris Sportsman 700, are designed to take damage. This is why it was made so heavy. Ironically, what some owners find unappealing about the quad are the same attributes that endear it to military personnel, who use these four-wheelers as mission and first-response vehicles.
Polaris Inc. is an American manufacturer that started with snowmobiles and later ventured into the production of ATVs, motorcycles, and other electric vehicles. The firm is also the maker of the 2004 Polaris Sportsman 700. Founded in the ’50s by Edgar Hetteen, the firm began with the concept of creating a vehicle that could drive through snow, which eventually became the 1956 Polaris Sno Traveler.
Since then, Polaris has pioneered some of the key components used by all-terrain vehicles today, including automatic transmission, Independent Rear Suspension (IRS), and Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI).
Conclusion – The Polaris Sportsman 700
The Polaris Sportsman 700 is a reliable quad that can tackle water crossings, steep inclines, slick surfaces, and rocky terrain. It is a quad you can undoubtedly take in your adventure in the woods or when doing farm work. The Sportsman 700 is a powerhouse that has stayed true to its lineage and will last you many years of off-roading fun. With its EFI tech and well-thought-of design, you can expect nothing less from this ground-breaking all-terrain vehicle.
Kris is an avid off-roader and outdoor enthusiast who loves to brave the elements and take on challenging terrain. He also enjoys sharing his passion and knowledge with others so that they, too, can appreciate the ride.